George Edwards Memorial Event Scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29

Staff, New Haven Independent, Sept. 30, 2022

New Haveners will have a chance to share their memories of the late Black Panther and social justice advocate George Edwards at an event set for Saturday, Oct. 29.

Edwards, possibly the most spied-on and messed-with activist in town and omnipresence at public events, died Sept. 16 at the age of 85. (Read a full story about his life at www.newhavenindependent.org/article/panther_passes_on)

George Edwards at a 2016 Hip-Hop Conference. Photo David Yaffe-Bellany

The state tried to frame George Edwards and lock him up for life. His fellow revolutionaries tortured him and tried to kill him. They didn’t know whom they were messing with. He survived — and kept at his Black Panther mission for another half century long after generations of fellow fighters left the theater.

It was kidney cancer that finally claimed the life of George Edwards. Until his final months, he remained one of New Haven’s most visible and engaging voices, challenging power and supporting grassroots social justice crusades.

The memorial event in his honor will take place at the Q House, 197 Dixwell Ave from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. His daughter Elizabeth Dickerson asks anyone wishing to speak at the event to contact her in advance at liz_dickerson@ sbcglobal.net. Attendees are also encouraged to bring gently used clothing to the event to be distributed to the needy.

A GoFundMe drive at www.gofundme.com/f/a-panther-passes-on?qid=7a85d1598883d37c6f39445c1186572c has been established to help pay for funeral costs. Some money will also go toward placing Edwards’ name on a brick at the Q House.

[George Edwards was an extraordinary and compassionate activist. Many, if not most, of PAR’s readers, worked with him on justice and community issues in New Haven. In almost six decades, we have no doubt he touched the lives of tens of thousands of New Haven residents, activists and Yale students. “The students are here for only four years and then they go all over the world. I’m going to train them
to be activists while I have this chance.” George was a mentor to many and held steadfast to the principles of the original Black Panthers. In addition to his work in the Black Panther Party, he played a core role in New Haven’s struggle against apartheid in South Africa, organized many annual May Day celebrations on the New Haven Green, spoke out and organized against police brutality, was a
supporter of Palestinian rights, demonstrated against the various wars, bombings and invasions the U.S. carried out — Panama, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, etc., demanded the release of Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal and all other U.S. political prisoners, had a weekly show on CTV where he introduced viewers to activism, history and the current events of the day and taught them how to analyze, protested against nuclear power, was an AIDS-prevention activist and worked at the New Haven Needle Ex-change Project, and when the pandemic began, he gave out masks, condoms, water bottles and gloves to people from his front porch. In addition to the New Haven Independent, George has been featured in the New Haven Register many times through the years and the New York Times. This is a brief description of the work George did and the causes he took on.]

 

Memorial Event Set For George Edwards

Read the full story here in the New Haven Independent

New Haveners will have a chance to share their memories of the late Black Panther and social justice advocate George Edwards at an event set for Saturday, Oct. 29.

Edwards, possibly the most spied-on and messed-with activist in town and an omnipresence at public events, died Sept. 16 at the age of 85. (Read a full story about his life here.)

The memorial event in his honor will take place at the Dixwell Q House on Dixwell Avenue. It is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

His daughter Elizabeth Dickerson asks anyone wishing to speak at the event to contact her in advance at liz_dickerson@sbcglobal.net.

Attendees are also encouraged to bring gently used clothing to the event to be distributed to the needy.

This GoFundMe drive has been established to help pay for funeral costs. Some money will also go toward placing Edwards’ name on a brick at the Q House

George Edwards, Black Panther and Lifelong Revolutionary July 31, 1937-Sept. 16, 2022

Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of George Edwards, an extraordinary and compassionate activist. Many, if not most, of PAR’s readers, worked with him on justice and community issues in New Haven. In almost six decades, we have no doubt he touched the lives of tens of thousands of New Haven residents, activists and Yale students. “The students are here for only four years and then they go all over the world. I’m going to train them to be activists while I have this chance.” He was a mentor to many and held steadfast to the principles of the original Black Panthers. In addition to his work in the Black Panther Party, he played a core role in New Haven’s struggle against apartheid in South Africa, organized many annual May Day celebrations on the New Haven Green, spoke out and organized against police brutality, was a supporter of Palestinian rights, demonstrated against the various wars, bombings and invasions the U.S. carried out — Panama, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, etc., demanded the release of Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal and all other U.S. political prisoners, had a weekly show on CTV where he introduced viewers to activism, history and the current events of the day and taught them how to analyze, protested against nuclear power, was an AIDS-prevention activist and worked at the New Haven Needle Exchange Project, and when the pandemic began, he gave out masks, condoms, water bottles and gloves to people from his front porch. This is a brief description of the work he did and the causes he took on.

A Panther Passes On

by Paul Bass, New Haven Independent, Sept. 21, 2022

The state tried to frame George Edwards and lock him up for life. His fellow revolutionaries tortured him and tried to kill him. They didn’t know whom they were messing with.

He survived — and kept at his Black Panther mission for another half century long after generations of fellow fighters left the theater.

George Edwards at a 2016 Hip-Hop Conference. Photo David Yaffe-Bellany

It was kidney cancer that finally claimed the life of George Edwards. He died late last Friday in Connecticut Hospice at the age of 85. Until his final months, he remained one of New Haven’s most visible and engaging voices, challenging power and supporting grassroots social justice crusades.

Perhaps the most spied-on and messed-with political activist in New Haven history, he combined theatrical training with an unshatterable suspicion of government power to speak out wherever people gathered: on city buses, at library gatherings, at outdoor protests. You may or may not have agreed with his assertions about imperial power, CIA connections to Yale, black helicopters or the moon landing. It was impossible not to listen. Or to appreciate the man speaking.

Edwards also possessed a gentleness and kindness that endeared him to people whether or not they shared his intense convictions.

“He lived a full life,” said his daughter, Elizabeth Dickerson, who had a Sunday pancake breakfast date with her dad at the Hamden IHOP in his later years. …

Edwards grew up in Goldsboro, N.C., where he engaged in his first protests with fellow high school students demanding that officials comply with the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board desegregation ruling.

He worked on B52 bombers as an engineer for the U.S Air Force from 1955 through 1961, when he was ceremoniously removed for his role in antimilitarism protests. He later said a recording of a speech by Malcolm X had made him question his service to the United States: ​“I had a serious confrontation with history, politics, racism. I was becoming conscious of the world. This man had shown a light to the darkness of my brain.”

Yale School of Drama brought Edwards to New Haven, where he became a stalwart performer in the local Black Arts Movement. When the national Black Panthers opened a chapter here in 1968, Edwards was one of its first members. Local cops and the FBI under its deadly COINTEL-PRO spying-and-disruption initiative were already keeping tabs on him. He appeared on the FBI ​“Agitator Index’ and ​“Rabble Rouser Index.” His FBI file #124 – 310G would expand to 1,000 pages. It revealed how, if Edwards went to the store for a quart of milk, an agent made sure to follow.

[Article can be read in its entirety, with videos at www.newhavenindependent.org/article/panther_passes_on.

See also 1992 NYT interview at https://www.nytimes.com/1992/11/22/nyregion/once-a-black-panther-always-a-cause.htm]